2017 Conference Tracks

2017 Schedule

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

7:00AM - 8:00AM - Organic Breakfast Buffet

8:00AM - 10:00AM - Wednesday Morning Conference Track Session

10:00AM - 10:30AM - Break & refreshments in Exhibit Hall

10:30AM - 12:30PM - Wednesday Late Morning Conference Track Session

12:30PM - 4th Annual GPOF Conference concludes

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

8:00AM - 9:00AM - Registration Open, Exhibit Hall Open

9:00AM - 9:15AM - Welcome and Program Overview

9:15AM - 12:10PM - Tuesday Morning Conference Track Session

12:15PM - 1:30PM - Organic Lunch and Keynote, Dr Jennifer Tucker

1:30PM - 4:30PM - Tuesday Afternoon Conference Track Session

5:00PM - 6:00PM - Cocktails and Refreshments in Exhibit Hall

6:00PM - 8:15PM - Plated Organic Dinner, PCO 20th Anniversary Celebration, Annual Meeting and Dinner

Keynote Speaker

Jennifer Tucker, NOP

Jennifer Tucker, NOP

Dr. Jennifer Tucker is Associate Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) in Washington DC. She has been the second in command at the NOP for six years, guiding communications and outreach, training, technology development, and operations for the program. Before coming to NOP, she was a consultant specializing in strategic planning, communications, and leadership and team development. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies.

Fruit Track

Tuesday Morning Session - Organic Concord grape production

Presenter - Mr. Bryan Hed

The development of effective disease control programs in organic grape production, the development and adoption of new cultural and chemical control options for wine grape harvest rot management, the examination of the effects of rainfall on fungicide efficacy, efficacy testing of new fungicides.

Tuesday Morning Session - Compost tea for managing diseases of wine grapes

Presenter - Dr. Annemiek Schilder

This presentation will cover the potential for utilizing compost tea to manage diseases of wine grapes.

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Growing Wine Grapes Organically

Presenter - Mr. Bryan Hed

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Tactics for the Management of brown marmorated stink bug

Presenters - Dr Acebes-Doria

Wednesday Morning Session - Organic Blueberry Production

Presenters - Dr Annemiek Schilder

Organic blueberry production including a review of diseases, cultural management of blueberry diseases and the most effective approved organic materials to manage diseases.

Fruit Track Presenters

Annemiek Schilder

Annemiek Schilder

Annemiek Schilder, MSU

Annemiek Schilder, a descendant of a long line of dairy farmers in The Netherlands, worked as a small fruit pathologist at Michigan State University for 19 years and has her own company called BerryConsult. Her research and extension activities focus on sustainable disease management in grapes and berry crops. She obtained her B.S. degree in Agronomy from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She also studied at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands and worked for 3 years as a researcher at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria. 

Bryan Hed, PSU

Bryan Hed, PSU

Bryan Hed, PSU

In 18 years as a plant pathologist for Penn State University, Bryan has focused his efforts on improving grape disease management programs for Pennsylvania grape growers. In these GPOF presentations, he will discuss the general importance of non-chemical disease control methods in organic production such as site and variety selection, cultural controls and sanitation. He will also incorporate information about the biology of the major grape pathogens and the results of our experiments with organic methods of disease control over the past several years.

Vegetable Track

Tuesday Morning Session - Organic disease management in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers

Presenter - Steve Bogash

Managing diseases in indoor and outdoor grown cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes using biocontrol agents coupled with good growing practices continues to get easier. This is primarily due to steady growth in biocontrol agents and cover cropping systems. We will discuss what has worked and what has not along with strategies to best manage common plant diseases. 

Tuesday Morning Session - Expanding the Profit Margin Through Mechanization

Presenter - George Brittenburg

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Labor Efficiency Strategies

Presenters - Tricia Borneman and Tom Murtha of Blooming Glen Farm

How to delegate, hand out responsibility and inspire people to keep them committed to efficiency. After 12 years of farming, we have effective processes in place to keep our employees moving because every hour is worth money. This also contributes to our paper trail to maintain organic certification.

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Understanding the National List and the Materials Review Process

Presenters - Jen Berkebile

Wednesday Morning Session - Biological Pest Management

Presenters - Steve Bogash

Wednesday Late Morning Session - Vegetable disease scouting and diagnostics for improved crop productivity

Presenters - Beth Gugino, Penn State University

Come learn strategies for scouting vegetable crops for diseases and tips for accurately identifying  both common and  emerging diseases in Pennsylvania. Accurate disease diagnosis and regular scouting are essential  for both managing diseases  within the season as well as aiding in cultivar selection, modifying crop rotations and augmenting cultural practices for improved disease management for the next season. 

Vegetable Presenters

Beth Gugino, PhD, PSU

Beth Gugino, PhD, PSU

Beth K. Gugino is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at The Pennsylvania State University located at University Park, PA. Her extension and adaptive research program focuses on the identification, epidemiology and management of important and emerging diseases of major vegetable crops in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region. She works closely industry stakeholder groups like the Pennsylvania Vegetable Grower Association and has regularly presented at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention and  Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture meetings. She is currently serving as a managing member on the PCO Board of Directors. 

She received her B.S. in Horticulture and M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from The Pennsylvania State University. She was a post-doc at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station with Cornell University working with diseases of vegetable crops and soil health for four years before returning to Penn State in June 2008.

Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen Farm

Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen Farm

Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen Farm

Blooming Glen Farm is a reflection of the experience and dedication of farmers and owners Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman. We have been farming together since 2000. We worked on organic farms in Connecticut, Oregon, New Jersey and Pennsylvania before returning to Bucks County to start Blooming Glen Farm. Growing up in Bucks County, Tricia witnessed firsthand the rapid loss of productive farmland to development. We are driven by a passion for food and community, and committed to preserving the rich agricultural heritage of this region. We live our values through the daily work of the farm, and share the bounty of our labor with our community of eaters.

Steve Bogash, Retired PSU

Steve Bogash, Retired PSU

Steve Bogash

Steve retired as a Horticulture Educator and Researcher, PSU Cooperative Extension in June 2016. Since retiring, Steve has continued to develop new nutrient products and the recommendation to use these products in vegetables, small fruit and flowers. He continues to do applied research in field and high tunnels on bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and processing tomatoes seeking to improve yields and quality. Pro-active pest management using biological control agents is an important factor in all of these trials. Steve has been doing extensive trials in high tunnel and field tomatoes bell peppers, and cucumbers with a focus on plant nutrition and biological pest management since 2000. Evaluating more than 500 varieties of tomatoes for flavor, appearance, disease resistance and general usability has made Steve very opinionated when it comes to tomato varieties. 

Poultry Track

Tuesday Morning Session - Update from Organic Poultry Integrators

Presenters - Bell & Evans and Hain Protein

Tuesday Morning Session - An Organic Certification Primer for Poultry Producers

Presenters - Justine Cook

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Pasture Poultry Nutrition

Presenters - Casey Trinkhaus of Fertrell,  Mike Badger of APPPA

Wednesday Morning Session - Session Name TBD

Presenters - Greg Stricker, Will Smith

Wednesday Late Morning Session - Session Name TBD

Presenters - TBD

Poultry Presenters

Greg Stricker

Gregory Stricker is the 5th generation farmer at Spring Creek Farms. When he returned to the farm full time in 2010, they began direct marketing poultry and also purchased a bottling machine to take raw milk to a farmers market in the region. To give consumers the peace of mind that they are getting a truly authentic organic product, Spring Creek Farm completed the organic certification. This ensures that customers see the USDA Certified Organic emblem on all their poultry products.

Dairy Track

Tuesday Morning Session - Organic Grassmilk Production

Presenters - Phyllis and Paul Van Amburgh

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Organic Dairy Economics

Presenters - Dr Larry Tranel

First Hour - A discussion on how genetics, calf management and heifer growth impact rumen development and dry matter intake from pasture. A review of how simple, successful 100% grass fed systems from around the country and around the world strategize for full-rumen fill.

Second Hour - In this workshop we will discuss many of the strategies which can be used to increase your cows forage intake from pasture so they can maintain better body condition, make more milk and have better reproductive performance.

Wednesday Morning Session - Converting a Tie Stall Milking System to a Parlor

Presenters - Dr. Larry Tranel

Wednesday Late Morning Session - Organic Grassmilk Production

Presenters - Phyllis and Paul Van Amburgh

Field Crops Track

Organic Oilseed Production

Presenter - Heather Darby

This session will discuss organic production of fiber & oilseed crops including hemp, flax, sunflower and many others. After discussing agronomics, small scale oil processing including fiber characteristics will be discussed.

Tuesday Afternoon Session - The Basics of Organic Crop Finance

Presenter - Jordan Risser

Jordan will be talking about the 5 C's of credit as well as a brief overview of the requirements for seeking credit from a financial institution. Further information will be provided on the alternative financing options for beginning farmers, which include FSA loans and the state Next Generation Farm Loan Program.

Tuesday Afternoon Session - Organic Crop Marketing

Presenter - Andrew Smyre

The presentation will cover the basics of organic grain transactions. We will discuss the general state of the markets, importing, end use and acres. Finding markets and understanding marketing options will also be reviewed.

Wednesday Morning Session - Organic Grain Production Equipment and Storage Panel

Panel - Elvin Ranck, Charvin Organic Farm; Randy Wenger, Misty Meadow Farm; Eric and Joel Steigman, Small Valley Milling

Wednesday Late Morning Session - Inside Looks at Large Growing Organic Operation

Presenter - Logan Petrey, Agronomist, Organics Farm Manager, Generation Farms

Large-scale organic farming proposes obstacles found in both small organic farms and large conventional farms. Developing good crop rotations is critical to protect the longevity of any organic system by keeping the obstacles manageable and maximizing amendments. Designing rotational programs for large acreage includes not only agronomy but also logistics, labor, product availability, and sales/storage capacity. Any farm planning to expand should strategize all aspects to ensure success.

Field Crops Presenters

Andrew Smyre, Anchor Ingredients

Andrew Smyre, Anchor Ingredients

Andrew Smyre

Andrew was raised on a farm in central Pennsylvania producing corn, soybearns, wheat, vegetables and venison. He developed a passion for organic farming in the late 2000's. He is currently farming 80 acres of crops organically including 2 acres of potatoes. Andrew is a 2008 graduate of Delaware Valley University with a Major in Agronomy and Minor in Business Administration. He is a CCA and serve on the regional USDA SARE AC Board. Andrew markets organic grain for Anchor Ingredients Co., LLC in Kutztown, PA and has his my own agronomic consulting business for NMP, Soil Sampling and Irrigation, Precizion Ag LLC. 

Joel and Eric Steigman, Small Valley Milling

Joel Steigman has been an organic farmer since 1999, farming 300 acres with wife, Elaine, and son, Eric. He is also owner of Small Valley Milling, an organic flour mill located on the family farm in Halifax, PA. Small Valley Milling provides a variety of grains including spelt, emmer, emkorn, wheat, rye and corn.

Eric Steigman is a partner in the family faming operation and co-owner of Small Valley Milling.

Ron Hoover, PSU

Ron Hoover, PSU

Ron Hoover, PSU

Ron was raised on the family dairy, grain, and potato farm in Cambria County, PA. He hasn’t quite left the farm as he operates a 50-acre hay farm in addition to his responsibilities at Penn State.  He currently coordinates on-farm research at Penn State in the Plant Sciences Department, teaches a grain crops production class, and is a member of the Agronomy extension team. He has overseen numerous crop production and soil management projects that were conducted on certified organic farms and has an appreciation for the numerous challenges faced by organic producers. In addition to serving on the PCO board of directors, Ron serves on the boards of the PA Agronomic Education Society, the Halfmoon Township Open Space Preservation board, the Centre County Ag Land Preservation board, and co-advises the Penn State Collegiate Farm Bureau Club.

Jordan Risser

Jordan Risser

Jordan Risser

Jordan grew up on a large dairy farm in NW Lancaster and holds a BS in Agronomy from Delaware Valley University. Following college, he worked on his family dairy farm and was also a seed consultant for Dekalb & Asgrow, a division of Monsanto. After receiving his MBA from Lebanon Valley College in 2013, Jordan took a position with Fulton Bank as an agricultural lender. Jordan now works with a wide variety of agricultural producers/families and primarily covers the SE Pennsylvania region. Jordan resides in Elizabethtown with his wife, Laura, and sons Wyatt and Everett.

Dr Heather Darby, University of Vermont

Dr Heather Darby, University of Vermont

Dr Heather Darby, University of Vermont

Dr. Heather Darby is an Agronomist with the University of Vermont Extension. She works with organic farmers on grain, forage and soil needs specific to their organic systems. Heather also owns and operates an organic vegetable and livestock farm with her family in Vermont.